formerly, The Manhattan Half.
The night before I re-watched Run for your Life, the documentary about Fred Lebow and how the NYC marathon/ NYRR came to exist. This is a must watch for all runners, especially if you've ever run the marathon or ever plan to. They had copies available at packet-pickup for a discount. The DVD copy has an hour of extended footage (that's not available with the iTunes version). A portion of the sales went towards the NYRR youth programs.
Since the race is newly re-named after the man behind the marathon, it was encouraged to wear your vintage NYC marathon gear. I saw a TON of Asics NYCM jackets, but it was too cold to see the shirts underneath. The most vintage marathon shirt I had was the infamous orange one, so I decided to wear my beautiful blue one (that I haven't really worn as much as I should!) along with my 2012 jacket and my striped hat.
I decided to sign up for this race, after the exciting announcement that it would be changed to The Fred Lebow Half and all the cool things they promised! It also helped a lot that this race would still be considered a qualifier for the 2015 NYC Half. I had a 12.5 mile run on the training schedule, so I thought this would be a good way to motivate me to do it.
So, how was the race? I should start by saying I really shouldn't have signed up for it. This was a pretty miserable race for me, so it may or may not affect my opinion. I was already cranky and tired from my 4 miler the day before. I just wasn't in the mood to brave the cold again. The forecast said sunny and that was my only saving grace. No matter what, I knew I had to get out there and run at least 12.5 miles, so it might as well be with support.
This race is just 2 loops of central park. That's 2 climbs of Harlem Hill, along with a ton of people looping you by mile 5. I was trying to hang on mentally until all those runners turned to finish and I could continue my 2nd loop in peace. Those motivational Fred Lebow quotes that were supposed to be all over the course? No where to be found, which I could've used the distraction. Later, I saw 2- one by bag check and the other at the information booth. . . not a place really needing motivation, in my opinion.
Then a lady in front of me turned to ask what the course time limit was. . . I had no idea? 3? 3:30? Again, it was 2 loops of the park. . no street had to be reopened, so maybe? This of course freaked me out, and I asked a course marshal who stated "3 hours". So, instead of a nice peaceful 2nd loop I was looking forward to, I was freaking out over the time limit and running faster than I should have. Awesome.
The water was frozen at all of the water stops. . . as well as in my water belt. It was also so cold, I decided to experiment with 2 pairs of pants. Verdict? Not the smartest idea, but you live and learn. I was also having a really hard time breathing, which is new; I don't normally have that kind of trouble. Since I was freaking out about time, it was only making matters worse. Seeing as this race had turned into an unscored fun run due to weather for the past 2 years, I'd assume NYRR would figure out that it's not an awesome plan to have a half marathon in NYC in January, but no judgement. After the 15k disaster, I remembered to bring extra clothes as well as another hat and gloves. Bonus points that the NYRR bags could fit all that PLUS my winter coat (and I made sure to tie it tight so no snow would get in).
Also, I didn't see a medical tent on the course at all. Bummer because I really could've used one. I could tell my toe was bleeding and being able to fix it mid-race would've been awesome. The only medical tent I saw was after the finish line, which was not helpful at all, especially if you needed medical, DURING the race.
This was also the first half marathon I've ever run without a medal waiting for me at the finish line. Originally, having a really great designed bike hat sounded awesome. But at mile 10 of the race, it did nothing to motivate me to finish (especially considering that it was already in my possession). Once I got to the finish line, there was a bag of pretzels and an apple waiting for me. Seriously? There are bagels at 4 mile races when you've barely burned those calories, but not after 13.1 miles? All I'm saying is a french toast bagel would've been nice to wash away the memories of the race. Or a plain one. I wouldn't have been picky at that point.
I was sad that for me, the race itself did not hold up to all the hype that surrounded it. And while $40 for a regular half marathon is extremely reasonable, I was expecting more for a race that was held inside Central Park without the expense of tshirts or medals.